Friday, August 12, 2011

Issues & tension

I've been having problems with Ava for the last week. I need a lesson so badly! It's so frustrating not being able to fix whatever is wrong. Bern, you're going to be so pissed when I come back in October! We were going so well when we left the barn just a month ago. *sigh* Until then, I have to find a way to fix this. Here's what's going on.... We walk out to the mowed area behind the house at 5:30-6:00. She's fine on the walk out, leg yields softly both ways, calm, relaxed. We step into the mowed area and she turns into a board. She braces against the bit, doesn't really listen to the seat, kicks out at the leg when I put it in, gets really tense. Walk back to the barn and she's relaxed and calm, leg yields easily and softly. She always goes out to pasture after our ride. I'm not sure if she's in pain from the saddle, anxious about being turned free for the night, upset with the footing in the "arena", or if I'm tensing and causing it. Too many possible issues at this point. But it's driving me nuts and I know Ava isn't enjoying our rides right now so I have to figure out what's going on. Any suggestions? Oh... And blogspot has been buggy and won't let me comment lately, so please be patient if I don't reply.


  1. Not that I know anything ... BUT, when Speedy G does this kind of stuff, and he does it quite frequently, it's because work is harrrrred. In fact, we went through this today.

    Since I know him so well, I know how "tough" I can get without ruining the whole ride. With Sydney, since he's so new to me, I can't do this. Here's what I do to Speedy: I ask politely, and then I ask more firmly. If I need to, I swat his hind end with the whip and alternate rocking both reins until he gives something, anything. As soon as he does, I soften and he gets a GOOD BOY! Sometimes it takes ten to twenty minutes of this, but eventually he decides that working is better than the alternative.

    If Ava is too sensitive for this kind of "manhandling," Speedy thinks he's being abused, you might try what I do with Sydney. In fact this happened today, too. He just would not soften and then he started to dance and holler back to the barn. I brought him back to walk and we did LOTS of counter bending at the walk, head to my knee, move away from leg, and so on. I did everything I could think of to loosen his neck. Then we went back to the trot work. We didn't get great softness, but it was at least improved.

    When they won't soften, I've found that I need to try something different. If I don't, I just get more stiffness. Good luck and I hope your next ride is a better one.!

  2. I think you're right on the money with this one. I felt like that was the path to take (tougher), but then I started second guessing myself and ended up giving her conflicting messages. I would've been better off either sticking to one or the other, but that indecisive b.s. was even worse.

    I read your comment last night, and was completely geeked about working on it during this morning's ride. Of course, it's been thundering and lightening ALL morning. grrr.

    Hopefully it'll blow over before this evening and I can get out and ride today. I'll see if I can get someone to take some video if I do ride tonight. I'll post a link on here. Then you can see how terrible we've been doing (cringe). ;)

  3. Google hates IE9. I had to download Firefox to make a comment on my own blog. HA. Stupid google.

  4. A day later and I am growling. Speedy was AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME today. Sydney, a complete freakin' jerk. I tried my own advice and it eventually worked ... sort of! Sydney was flinging his head straight up, trying to bolt, you name it. I just persisted with the bending, bending, bending. Finally, he gave me something. It wasn't particularly soft, and it it wasn't very submissive, but at east his head came down and he trot without flinging himself all over the place.

    I pulled his saddle and turned him out for a bit to gallop off his stress. Then I got my carrot stick (natural horsemanship whip) and made him move his feet and change directions. By the time we were finished he was wringing wet. I felt a bit bad, but all I was asking for was for him to turn my way and pay some attention to me. Once we were finished, he was pretty docile.

    I hope you get a ride in and that it was better than my ride on Sydney. Best of luck. And as Cha Ching's mom told me after I whined to her about my morning, tomorrow's another day! :0)